Now

The last buttonhole

The last buttonhole. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The last buttonhole. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

A year after I started making this shirt, I am finally about to sew the last buttonhole.

It will take me about an hour, and then…this shirt is complete.

It takes a long time to hand sew a shirt…but it doesn’t take a year. I think for the last 6 months I’ve spent the time avoiding sewing these buttonholes. In case I stuff them up. This shirt has been awkward at times. I’ve taken the collar off and totally remade it – which took ages. The stitching is a strong contrast to the main fabric. Which I did, on purpose, so that the imperfect handmade nature of the shirt was obvious…but I couldn’t come to terms with how messy the stitching on the collar was. The collar is different to all the other parts of the shirt. Being circular there are no obvious ‘inside’ and ‘outside’…or the inside and outside change halfway through a line of stitching. You see, I can make one side reasonably neat…the other, well it’s pretty scrappy.

Anyway.

It’s taken a long time, most of that time has been taken up with my battle with myself to be perfect.

But also, some of that time has been dedicated to the fact that shirt making is all process. Like painting a room every new exploration is a lot of preparation before I actually get to sew, which I don’t find takes that long.

In this case the buttonholes took so long because I got curious about how handmade buttonholes are actually meant to be made. I had just made up my own technique…but I knew that there was going to be a ‘proper’ way to do it.

As I explored different techniques my buttonholes got a lot worse before they finally shaped up into something passable.

If that was the only delay, learning a new technique, then I may have slowed a little, but that wouldn’t have worried me. I like that shirt making is a process of discovery. It’s all the angst in between that I could do without.

It’s important for me to remember that the process is the point. To slow down and enjoy each piece of the puzzle.

That same old lesson coming back to visit me once again.

There is only now.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,377

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Stand here.

Stand here. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Stand here. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The change of season.

Can be rough.

Messy.

Transitions are like that.

I’m standing in a place that feels unlike the place I’ve been and not quite like the place I imagine I am going.

Here is the only place that exists.

Stand here.

That’s it.

All there is.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,374

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Get moving.

Get moving. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Get moving. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Get moving.

Cooperate, coordinate, go!

What’s needed is obvious.

Make it happen.

Kindly, gently, quickly.

Get moving.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,366

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A busy day resting.

A busy day resting. Drawing Luke Hockley.

A busy day resting. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

On the go all day.

Resting by doing lots of things.

Washing, shopping, cooking.

I must also remember to rest by doing nothing.

Every now and then that would be well worth the investment I reckon.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,363

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I let it go.

I let it go. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I let it go. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am a heavy, satisfied weight.

I lay the weight of me down upon the couch.

And let go.

I let go of holding it all together.

Of getting it right.

Of choosing a path.

Of making a decision.

Of worrying it till it is free of wrinkles.

I let it go.

And rest.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,362

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

Nothing’s wrong

Nothings wrong. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Nothings wrong. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Nothing’s wrong.

This is just it, now, as it is.

Thank you.

Good night.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,357

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What is fire?

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

It burns.

Uncontainable unless it’s contained.

Painful if it hits the skin.

Mesmerising.

Seductive and comforting.

Terrifying.

Totally overwhelmingly terrifying.

Intense.

Wood become air.

How? How does it become air?

What is fire?

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,356

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Splitting wood.

Splitting wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Splitting wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I enjoy learning new skills.

When I split wood, which is something I have been slowly learning how to do over several years, I’ve noticed some things.

One moment it’s like magic. A clean split. Neat. Destiny.

Another moment it’s like a person awkwardly riding a horse. Thudding, jolting, jarring. An out of rhythm ricochet.

I watch what I’m doing and try to and work it out.

I can blame the wood, its shape and texture and temperature and age and…

It’s not the wood.

And there’s nothing wrong with my wood splitter.

As I go about this little experiment, I uncover small clues.

Today I found two things of interest.

When I swing the log splitter behind my back and then go to pull it forwards up and over my head I have been trying to use my left hand too much to get the axe moving. It caused my left wrist to get sore (which is why I was noticing it)…so I tried getting the forward swing going with my right hand. The extra force and strength I felt was incredible. Whole body powerful.

If the magic happens, that extra force is incredible…if not then the ricochet is almost comical. I often look around to see if the birds are laughing at me.

The other thing I noticed is that I find it very hard to hit the wood exactly where I intend to hit the wood. Sometimes I am close, sometimes I am ridiculously nowhere near my intended aim.

My theory is that you hit where you are looking, that when the visual relationship with the impact point is clear that the body does all this amazing calculation to make connection with that point. If this is correct I don’t have to try harder to hit the spot, I just have to more clearly pay attention to my target.

What I noticed is that I am paying very careful attention to this spot when I get ready and swing the axe. And that it feels like I am watching this spot for as long as I possibly can…but then, as I repeated and repeated the action, I began to notice that as the log splitter hit the wood (or was about to) I let my attention (not just my vision, my intention) drift away from that spot I had chosen.

I tried holding my attention to that spot (even if I couldn’t see it) until the axe had finished moving.

Incredible. Like a laser. Not always exactly on the spot. So much closer and the hit was so much cleaner.

I find all this fascinating.

I don’t know why.

I just do.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,354

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An anxious butterfly.

An anxious butterfly. Drawing Luke Hockley

An anxious butterfly. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

There is an anxious, butterfly pressure on my solar plexus.

Choices? Options? Pressure?

Busyness? Change?

What is it I wonder?

Too much rich food?

Not enough water?

Trying to solve other people’s problems?

Yes. Probably.

All of that.

Yes. Ok.

Ok.

It will be ok.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,350

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Arrival.

Arrival. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Arrival. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Scatter, scatter.

I ping pong my thoughts from rapid place to rapid place.

Solving small parts of many different problems in quick succession.

Never arriving, never landing, never seeing something through to the.

End.

I crave that long slow time.

I crave that place I get to where I am breathing into this thing I am doing.

I crave arrival.

Where does that live?

It lives in how I approach the thing I am doing.

It lives with me.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,348

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.